KARACHI: It has been eight months since Bushra Begum joined Government Girls Secondary School in Malir City but has yet to receive a single rupee from the government for her salary.
“I am not the only one but there are several others who are living hand to mouth because we are not receiving our salaries,” said Bushra, who joined the school on December 2, 2014.
The problem is recognised by the education secretary, Fazlullah Pechuho, who has written a letter to the anti-corruption and enquiries wing. In a letter sent on Monday, Pechuho complained that officials of the district accounts’ offices and subordinates in the education department are involved in delaying the release of salaries to teachers who are appointed through the National Testing Service (NTS).
The newly appointed high school, primary school and junior school teachers are not receiving their salaries since they were recruited, stated Pechuho in the letter. “Most of the staff of District Accounts Offices in collusion with the subordinate staff of the Education and Literacy Department are involved in delaying [the] release of salaries due to unnecessary demands from them,” reads the letter. There is planned corruption in the department, Pechuho told The Express Tribune.
The original list of newly recruited teachers duly signed has already been sent to the district accounts’ offices through the finance department to open their bank accounts for salary transfers, he said, insisting that salaries will only be released to those teachers whose names are on the list provided by him.
“I have sent the list of teachers who were appointed by a thorough process but I alone cannot do everything,” said Pechuho, adding that the delay in salaries is not from their end but from the district accounts offices. “Almost everyone in the education department and treasury is corrupt, especially the lower clerks of the department,” he pointed out.
Pechuho insisted that it was the duty of the director to fire all these corrupt officers and clerks in the education department and not let them withhold the salaries of these teachers.
More than 11,000 teachers have been recruited in the last two years through the NTS and all have been serving government schools for six to eight months without getting paid. Sindh Chief Minister has asked the head of the anti-corruption wing to respond to the letter and resolve the issues of the NTS teachers, added Pechuho.
The anti-corruption wing received Pechuho’s letter on Tuesday. Its chairperson, Mumtaz Shah, said that an inquiry has been started urgently. “The letter has been forwarded to the director of the anti-corruption wing and he has been asked to look into both the departments that the education secretary mentioned in his letter,” Shah told The Express Tribune.
Initially, an inquiry will be conducted in the departments of the district accounts’ offices and the education and literacy departments. “A report will be compiled and sent to the relevant departments in less than a week,” said Shah. “After the report is submitted, action will be taken against the corrupt officers and it will be ensured that the salaries are released urgently.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2015.